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I waited a while before writing this review in hopes I’ll have a better idea of how to express my feelings. As it turns out, I don’t. I was expecting a heart wrenching beautiful and historically accurate story, based on what I experienced with Code Name Verity, but I was still blown away by it. They were as good, I’m even tempted to admit I enjoyed this one better, but it is still so fresh in my heart I feel a bit biased saying that, but they were still so different from each other. They are definitely two different stories, with a common theme and some shared characters.
I was ecstatic to see Maddie and Jamie (I’m sorry if I didn’t get the spelling of their names right, but I listened to the audiobook, so I didn’t get the chance to read it) again and to see they were well and happy. It was just a glimpse because they are not the centre of this story, but I was glad to get it. I wasn’t surprised, though, to learn a bit about them and how they were coping with Julie’s decease, yet I was not expecting to run into Engel again, and trust me, you’ll find her in the most unexpected place. When it finally dawned on me it was her, I was agape! It was awesome that Rose’s path crossed with her’s in such a way. Masterful, even.
Speaking of masterful, this story totally sneaked up on me. I thought it would go straight to the action, like Code Name Verity where we learn straight ahead that Julie had been imprisoned. Not this time around. I didn’t read the synopsis beforehand so I didn’t know what would happen, and I really didn’t know what to expect, but this story was slowly showing its deep layers. Plus, it was great to see how Rose had changed after experiencing the hardships the war brought on her.
I loved the fact that Rose was a poet, and I loved every one of the poems she wrote at camp. I also didn’t miss the subtlety of her last name being Justice. I loved that instead of putting the focus in one friendship, we got the focus on a wonderful group of people. But most of all, even if the author was careful in portraying the horrors that went on in a Concentration Camp, I loved that the main centre of attention was solidarity, love and the strength of human race. I hate what happened during WWII, but it wasn’t only a show of our worst features as humanity, if you look careful enough you’ll also be able to see it was also a demonstration of our best features and strengths.
I also enjoyed very much that the story wasn’t set in a Jewish Concentration Camp, which, as it turned out, were a bit different from the prisoner’s camp as the one Rose was in (I won’t even dare try to spell that). I liked that because they did exist, but we barely know about them, at least me. So many different types of people ended up there and their experiences were somewhat different. They deserved the spotlight.
It turned out I had lots to say about this book, but I would love to end it with a mention to Elodie. I loved that character and I got so little of her. I would love to have her side of the story. She was indeed remarkable, and if I ever end up marrying a French guy and have a daughter, I shall name her Elodie.
To sum up, this author is brilliant and the narrator was marvellous! They brought together a story to life. A beautiful heart warming, heart wrenching story of hope, solidarity, love and bravery in the most unexpected places. This book will live with me forever. It accurately captures the horror and the small rays of beauty within German Concentration Camps.
I don’t want to make this review longer, so I’ll just add a short note on Sasha Pick’s narrator. She is unbelievably amazing! She has an excellent pacing, she’s a wonderful singer, I loved listening to her read poetry, and how she made all the voices with their respective accents. She was so good at it too. Brilliant choice. I’ll be looking out for more of her audiobooks.